Most of us start our research by examining census records, cemetery listings and obituaries, and move on other types of official documentation, such as baptismal records, military records, deeds, and wills. There are gems to be found if we dig further. A lesser-known and most useful set of records are those of the Commissioners of Highways, which describe the relative locations of neighbors whose lands the roads were built through. Douglas J. Ingalls found several of his early ancestors in a resource available at the Archives in Fonda.
"An overlooked resource for finding information are highway records. The TCD number after each of these records refers to its location in The Tryon County Deed Book 1, 1772-1788 to be found in the Montgomery County Department of History and Archives. The July 15, 1773 entry is a unique family document in that it lists four direct ancestors at the time of the Revolutionary War. Several of these records are located in present Town of Manheim, Herkimer County."
Douglas J. Ingalls
14 November 1998
[Doug Ingalls passed away September 29, 1999
|HIGHWAY RECORDS of the PALATINE DISTRICT|
August 6, 1769
At the request of the Honourable Sir William JOHNSON, Baronet, the Comissioners laid out a road through the Stone Arabia Patent and the Patent of Sir William Johnson to Johnson's Hall as follows: A public road beginning at the house of Rudolph KOCK of Stone Arabia, thence going eastward along through the farms of William LOUX, Johannes SNELL, Hendrick MERCKELL and to the house of Hendrick MERCKELL, jr., thence through the land of Gerhard LASHLER and Johannes LOSHER and so along the Stone Arabia Patent and the adjacent Patent of Sir William Johnson to his Hall. Signed at Stone Arabia on 8/9/1769 by Peter PK [his mark] Krems, Isaac Paris, Hendrick Merckel, Severines S.D. [his mark] Deygert. (TCD: 51)
June 15, 1773
The Commissioners, at the request of the inhabitants of a new settlement in the Patent of George CLOCK, William NELLES & Co., have laid out a road from their settlement to the River Road leading to market & embarkation as follows: Beginning at the northwest corner of the lot of John HEADCOCK and runn1ng thence eastward along the head lines of the said lot and the lots of Peter BALSLY and Rudolph YUCKER to about the middle of the latter lot, thence turning north eastward over Crum Creek and over the most part of the lot of Jacob YURAND, thence turning south eastward through the lot of John J's. BELLINGER, then in a straight course over several lots to the right of the dwelling house of Christian DOCKSTETTER, Phillip NELLES and Frederick BELLINGER, passing also near the house of Christian HOUSE upon the lot of Jacob FELLING towards the River Road and coming in not far above the present dwelling house of Charles PISHET standing on the said River Road. Signed at Palatine District on 6/15/1773 by Adam Loucks, John Frey, Jacob Klock, Isaac Paris, Commissioners. (TCD: 53)
July 2, 1773
The Commissioners have laid out a road from Stone Arabia to the Mean River Road, beginnins at the Stone Arabia Patent line on the lot of land possessed by Jacob WALLRAD, thence westward through the woods as straight as possible to the division line of Philip W. FOX and George FOX, where their lands begin to be improved and fenced, thence along the division line, thence to the left through the pasture of George Fox to the Mean River Road. Signed at Palatine District on 7/2/1773 by Adam Loucks, John Frey, Jacob Klock, Isaac Paris, Commissioners. (TCD:52)
July 15, 1773
The Commissioners laid out a road for a new settlement called New Germantown within said District as follows: beginning at a bridge over the Sheprifts Creek, thence westward through the woods passing the dwelling place of Jacob LEPPEE to the division line of John RITTER'S and Conrad RICKERT'S tenements, thence straight along through the lands of John BAYER, Valentine BAYER, Leonard BAYER, and a piece of Adam BELLINGER'S tenement to the line of the District aforesaid. Also a road, beginning at the place where the abovementioned division line of John Ritter and Conrad Rickert join the division line of Lots #18 & 19, thence north along the said division line of #18 & 19 to the middle line of the settlement, thence west to the line of our District. Signed at Palatine District on 7/15/1773 by Adam Loucks, John Frey, Jacob Klock, Isaac Parts, Commissioners. (TCD:52-53)
November ?, 1773
The Commissioners report of roads from the Swegatshy settlement adjacent to Stone Arabia in Palatine Dis- trict to pass and repass from the said settlement, beginning in the Stone Arabia road at the division line of John KEYSER, jr. and John A. EMPIES tenement, running south along the said line, thence east along the rear line of Harman V. SLYCK'S patent to the hook pole of Hendrich VAN WIE, thence southeast along the division line of Hendrick Van Wie and Hermanun Van Slyck, thence south along the division line to the west corner of Lot #1, thence eastward to the cast end of Lot #4. Also another road, beginning at the aforementioned middle line where Lots #2 & 3 join, thence along the division line of the said Lots #2 as far as the said lots extend, thence eastward to the Stone Arabia Patent where the Lots #2 & 3 of the second division in the said patent do join, thence along the division line of the said lots to the old Stone Arabia road leading to market. Signed at Palatine District on 11/?/1773 by John Frey, Adam Laucks, Isaac Paris, Commissioners. (TCD: 49)
October 16, 1774
The Commissioners laid out a road from the Canada Creek to or near the house of Adolph WALRAD, beginning on the east side of Canada Creek near the house of Thomas BAXTER and going from the said creek south eastward near the house of said Thomas Baxter, thence easter]y to a creek called Crum Creek, thence south eastward to the house of Adolph Walrad. Signed on 10/16/1774 by Isaac Davis, Adam Loucks & Jacob J. Klock, Commissioners (TCD: 64)
"Another unique resource researchers should look at are Church Trustee Abstracts. It would appear that after 1800 these filings were not required. The TCD number refers to its location in the Tryon County Deed Book 1, 1772-1788 located at the Montgomery County Department of History and Archives."
Church Trustee Abstracts
GERMAN FLATS DISTRICT
The officers of the Reformed German Church of the German Flats District in Montgomery Co., certify that JOHN FRANK, FREDERICK FOX, MARCUS RASBACH and DEDRICK STALE were elected trustees of the said Congregation. Signed on 7/9/1784 by Jacob Beshorn, Marcus x Rasbach. Witnesses: Christian Hess, James Yule. Recorded 8/13/1785 (TCD:229)